Today’s history-making flight of the
first people to fly into space without government funding is just the
Very early this Thursday, at 1:30 am Eastern time, they will dock
with the Mir Space Station and open the hatch on the world’s first commercial
space station.
Their 45-day mission will be not as NASA astronauts, or
Russian government cosmonauts; they’ll be doing business in space as employees
of the private firm, MirCorp, which has leased the facility from Russia and
plans to refurbish it and use it as a base to build a larger station.

Rick Tumlinson, President of Los Angeles-based Space Frontier Foundation,
laid the groundwork for what he hopes will become the first of many businesses
ventures in space.
He and the Foundation congratulated MirCorp for taking
such a large risk.
“We are proud of the work our members did, and continue
doing, to open the Space Frontier,” he remarked.
“And we honor the team that
has put so much money and hard work on the line to make this possible.”

Tumlinson first called for re-using Mir in 1991, in an article in the
Los Angeles Times.
The idea grew, and in 1994 re-use of facilities like Mir
figured prominently in the his testimony before Congress titled “Alpha Town.”
In 1997 Foundationer David Anderman began their “Keep Mir Alive” campaign.
1999 Tumlinson traveled to Moscow, signed the first protocols leading to the
development of MirCorp, and later introduced financier Walt Anderson to the
RKK Energia company.
The rest, as they say, is history.

A full press release listing more details of the mission and subsequent
docking will be issued this Thursday, April 6, to be distributed by
PR Newswire.